A Short Trip To Galicia’s Picture Perfect Cies Islands
When planning our trip to Galicia, my friends and I were unsure whether to bring our rain gear or our sun cream! As the forecast promised sunny and warm days, we thought of going to the beach to get that last taste of summer (yes, even at the end of October) before hitting the road to Santiago.
So, together with the necessary gear for cycling, we packed bikinis, sun cream, a hat and sunglasses. We decided to embrace the sun and head off to the tropical paradise of Galicia: the Cies Islands.
The Cies Islands are an archipelago made of three small islands – Monte Agudo, O Faro and San Martiño – located off the northwest coast of Spain. These islands are known for their unique landscapes, crystalline water, flora and wildlife.
Part of the Atlantic Islands National Park, the environment of the Cies Islands is protected. To avoid any contamination, there are no waste bins on the island so if you visit and bring your own food/drinks, please do make sure to bring your litter away with you.
Also, in order to control visits to the islands and to prevent too much disruption to the environment, visitors are required to provide their ID or passport at the time of booking. Visits are kept to a limited number, especially during the summer so it’s advised you book ahead.
As mentioned, the crystalline water and the green flora make this archipelago one of the most amazing places in Europe. The Romans were definitively on to something when they called them ‘The Islands of the Gods’. As well as the lush flora, it’s also possible to visit a pre-Roman settlement, take part in bird watching and visit local lighthouses.
There are four walking trails on the island:
- Monte Faro Route: one of the longest routes and the most popular
- Porta Lighthouse Route: less travelled route than others, but with a view of the islands closer to the sea
- Monteagudo Route: ideal for visiting the bird observatory overlooking the ocean
- Alto do Principe Route: the shortest and easiest trail, boasting superb scenery
As we were quite short on time and wanted to make the most of our visit, we decided to take the shortest path. Needless to say, once we arrived at the top of our trail, the view was just breathtaking.
We sat and took in the steep and deep cliffs, wind-shaped rocks and bushes overlooking the southern part of the archipelago. The fresh breeze combined with the glorious sunshine, lush colours and the sound of waves crashing on the rocky shores made this the undisputed highlight of our visit.
On our descent from the trail, we stopped at one of the nicest beaches on the islands, A Praia das Figueiras. This beach is well known for being a nudist paradise, don’t be too surprised if you see some unclothed bathers if you visit!
How To Get To The Cies Islands
Getting to the Cies Islands is very easy. You simply take the ferry from Vigo port or Baoina (summer only). In peak season, the journey costs approximately €20 return and the ferry journey is 45-50 minutes. During off-peak season, tickets are €15.
You can book your visit up to 45 days in advance and it can be cancelled up to 15 days before your visit. To book your tickets, you must first request authorisation and then you will have 2 hours to reserve your spot. For more information and to book your tickets, visit the islands’ official website.
If you are walking the Portuguese coastal route, I would definitely recommend spending an extra night in Vigo in order to pay a visit to this amazing earthly heaven! For more information about the Camino Portugues, the Cies Islands or to book your Camino trip, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The Cies Islands are part of the Galician region of Spain, so do check the latest Covid-19 travel news on our website and the Cies Islands website before you visit, in case there are any changes to the schedule.